SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Utah security agencies responded to the Equifax cyber-security breach. Equifax announced Thursday that hackers attacked their system and stole personal information from more than 143 million people, 40% of the United States.
Equifax is a credit management company. Using personal information and financial habits, they determine a person’s credit score. That means you may be involved in this hack even if you haven’t worked with Equifax directly. Equifax gathers personal information from banks, lenders, and credit card companies.
Equifax said in an announcement that hackers stole names, birthdays, addresses, and social security numbers. For around 200,000 people, hackers also took credit card numbers. Attackers were in the Equifax system for more than two months before the breach was discovered.
This is not the largest cyber-attack to date, but it may be the most costly. Sergeant Jeff Plank of the State Bureau of Investigations explained, “The Equifax leak is smaller than Yahoo, but the type of data that they house is way more important.”
Sergeant Plank says it’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to your identity. “If you believe you are a victim of a cyber crime, contact both your local police department, and file it at the Internet Crimes Complaint Center, ic3.gov.”
To those who think they might be caught up in the attack, Sergeant Plank recommends credit monitoring and a credit freeze. “The credit monitoring service will tell you that you’ve become a victim but credit freeze may prevent you from becoming a victim.”
It’s also very important to change your email password after a breach of this size and to update your email settings. “If you haven’t enable two-step verification, enable that. It will prevent hackers from getting into your email account and harvesting any type of information there.”
To check with Equifax to see if your information was compromised and for more information, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. They will ask you for your last name and the last six numbers of your social security number. They are also offering one year of free credit monitoring starting next week.